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2,163 Holiday Cruise Reviews

I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience ... Read More
I was so looking forward to my first Christmas Cruise - but 16 nights later I was glad to disembark- disappointed is an understatement - the entertainment was dreadful - and the entertainment team - all five of them - had little experience - they were geared for entertaining children - not passengers of a mature age - and calling for Santa on Christmas Eve to come out of the funnel went down like a ton of bricks - perhaps Christmas Carols might have been more appropriate- so we waited with baited breath to see what had been planned for Christmas Day apart from a five course dinner - in a word -.nothing - the Horiszon was the same as the previous day with the exception of a film - BFG at 2pm which we went to to pass the afternoon - boredom was setttimg in fast - I was quizzed out but the end of the trip - wasn't into line dancing - didn't want to learn bridge - and wondered occasionally if passengers were asleep or dead - The evening entertainment left a lot to be desired apart from a coup,e of acts - and News Years Eve - was thrown together at the last moment - three or four venues all doing different things - the captain managed to prevent the usual countdown to midnight in the Harlequin- 8 bells eithervside of midnight and that was it - bit of a damp squid - and the dancing re started - The food was excellent as was the service in the dining room and our cabin - but P& O may have a a large fan base but they want to pull their socks up and not take us for granted - change the entertainment and entertainers - don't treat elderly passengers as if we are all on our last legs - Yes I am aware I will have people telling me to stop moanimg etc - but we spent a lot of money for a Christmas Cruise expecting something really special - Apart from the tan - I wish I had stayed at home Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable ... Read More
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable surroundings and plenty of options for entertainment. We paid the 'Cunard Fare' for our cruise which gave us the option of free valet parking at Southampton. This was handled brilliantly. We arrived at the port, unloaded our luggage and then left the keys with the parking staff. Check-in was smooth and within 45 minutes of arrival were were in our cabin with all luggage waiting for us and our cabin steward on hand to advise us of all the necessary information on our cabin and facilities. We had a BE Category outside cabin on Deck 7 with balcony and were pleased with the location just behind and down one deck from the ship's bridge. Being near to bow of the ship the pitching was more noticeable but it was much quieter than cabins and entertainment areas near the stern where there was a little vibration (although not uncomfortably so). We ate on the early sitting in the Britannia restaurant Deck 3 area and meals were of a very high quality. Wines were, however, expensive for the quality offered. We elected to take the 'Captain's Choice', providing a bottle of what turned out to be rather mediocre wines each evening. This was $495, not terribly good value for money in our opinion, however, the experience of being served and topped up regularly by the sommelier partly compensated for this. Waiter service by Mohammad and Miguel was friendly and efficient, if a little rushed at times. I think we'd possibly take the later sitting in future. Cabin service by our steward James was excellent. It has to be said that, at times, the ship felt a little like a floating care home. That's not in any way a criticism, just an observation - we met some delightful people of all ages. Just something to bear in mind when booking a festive cruise. Our friend who used to work in the travel industry has told us since that Christmas cruises do tend to have a lot of elderly folk shipped off on cruises by relatives during the festive season! Overall a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I can't say this holiday has us now hooked on cruising, but a Baltic or Norwegian Fjord cruise is something we'd consider in the future and, if possible, on the QE which we liked very much. That's just our personal preference - we're more solitary beings and being on board with around 2,000 other people was not something we are used to. Having said that, it was good to talk to other folk and there are still plenty of places on the ship where some privacy can be found. I spent most mornings at sea in the Commodore Club on Deck 10 reading and sipping hot chocolate while my other half was at his water-colour art classes. Shore excursions were quite good, We did three (Madeira, La Palma and a trip from La Coruna to Santiago de Compostela). For two 6 foot + chaps the coaches were incredibly cramped and uncomfortable. At $50 plus per person they were pretty expensive and the tour guides were satisfactory but not brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed. Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which is an accessible cabin. Cabin was spacious but found being forward was noisier that being mid ship or stern with the sound of the ropes and anchor noises. During rough weather the waves tended to go up into the anchor area and caused this to bang against the boat. This did only happen on two occasions during the trip. We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam room and out attendants, Hendra and Juli could not be faulted, they were friendly, professional and helpful. They did everything they possibly could to please. Noel, our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and was always at the ready to supply our drinks. The staff in the Crows Nest and Mix Bar were exceptional. Overall the crew seemed happy and engaging. Although the entertainment is more low key than in some of the more family orientated ships like RCA, Princess or Celebrity, we found the entertainment more than enough, after all this is a place to relax as well as enjoy oneself. The trivia times were great fun, with A/Cruise Director Joep being a great compere. There was plenty to do on board if you wanted to, I had great intentions of checking out the cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts centre, but never got there. There is a well stocked library which has many board, card games and relaxing cafe and lounge in which to play them as well as trivia, movies, shows, art auctions, a casino, dance classes. I enjoyed the size of the ship, it was the friendliest ship I have ever been on, this goes for fellow passengers and crew. One of the reasons for choosing Holland America was because there was no flow rider, ice skating rink, no needless bells and whistles and therefore not too many children. Those that were on board enjoyed the Hal's Kids Club and were on the whole well behaved and well mannered. The ports were great and most of them had shuttle buses (including accessible ones) to take you to information centres in the city centres. Also many volunteers were on hand to assist. Only port I had a problem with was Tauranga due to my mobility but local port authority kindly drove us to the port entrance. Overall, I think more should be done about facilities at ports but this is not a Holland America issue. Having travelled on RCA earlier in the year and being on board with a large amount of people having to wait in line was a problem. There is also a lack of room in the public areas due to adding in paying restaurants and making these areas smaller. This is not the case on Holland America, no waiting for lifts, plenty of room in the public areas if there was an activity happening. Smaller ships have their advantages. Debarkation went smoothly. Overall we had a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable holiday and would step back on board in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the ... Read More
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the Customer Services Desk - some passengers with major issues to iron out and some minor administrative questions. Unfortunately the Trainee Staff on our Cruise were at times poorly supervised or assisted by the senior staff and this led to passenger frustration on a major scale with several of our fellow passengers expressing frustration trying to sort our their accounts. Obviously there is no excuse for verbal or any other abuse of Staff by either Senior Staff or Passengers but at times Trainee Staff were left to fend for them selves trying to solve issues which were beyond their limited expertise and there were either no senior staff to support them (the senior staff seemed to miraculously appear from behind the walled enclosure when the heat was turned on) or the Trainees were left floundering. Princess Cruises needs to address this issue of Supervision and Training as a matter of urgency. Many passengers were affected detrimentially and left very frustrated on this one cruise alone and their decision not to cruise with the Princess group again may be made on the perceived calibre of the advice and assistance they received at the Customer Services Desk. After all without Customer satisfaction the Company may be sailing with quite a few empty cabins. Lift your game Princess and provide "real" support for your trainees and up-skill your senior staff on a regular basis or not only will you have no Trainees but no Passengers to pay their wages. On this Cruise the Administrative skills of the Customer Service Team appeared, at times, to be found wanting. 2.The destinations and shore excursions were adequate for those who have not visited South East Asia but were a little mundane for those who have travelled this region extensively by other means. 3. The entertainment onboard was first class and varied - equal to many similar shows ashore - entertainment through-out the Ship was plentiful with something for just about everyone although the "in-betweens" (those between 14 and 18 seemed to be a little short-changed with regard to entertainment - perhaps more challenging activities might be considered ie.character building. 4. Embarkation and disembarkation were streamlined and carried out with military precision with full marks to all staff who participated - tendr operations were also carried out with minimial inconvenience to passengers. In summary, the Cruise was very enjoyable and value for money - we will cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen ... Read More
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen cruises on multiple lines. We had an Ocean Suite and it worked for us. The room had plenty of storage and was well arranged to make the most of the space. The bathroom was also very spacious. We didn't hear any noise (room 7353) and this was a great location. We never used the elevators. I only wish the room would have been a little cooler. I got hot a lot while sleeping and it couldn't be turned down and further. We had early dining and I thought food was very good. Not every meal was a hit, but certainly not bad and some things we excellent. We had excellent waiters and servers who worked very hard. Drink service was slow so I usually grabbed a drink before coming in the dining room. The Steakhouse was amazing!!! Food was outstanding. I was a little disappointed in the service. I had to ask for a second glass of wine (not on Cheers program) and for water to be refilled. Other than that, it was the best meal of the trip. We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant. It was good. We liked Guys Burgers and Blue Iguana. Lido deck was good for breakfast and lunch. I was surprised at how easy it was to find seats and how there weren't a lot of lines. Pizza had the longest lines so I only got it once. It isn't my favorite. We enjoyed room service a few times for snacks and lunch. The new Pig and Anchor was also good. There are so many places to eat that even in 11 days we didn't get to try them all. The salads in the serenity area were wonderful but the line is very slow. I would have had that more often if it didn't take so much time. Variety of options was outstanding! Yes the two main show lounges were horribly designed with moving chairs and obstructed views. Hopefully this will eventually be corrected or at the very least not repeated on any future ships. We didn't try the Imax or the Thrill theater. We loved the Skyride and Ropes courses. So much fun! We never had trouble finding chairs around the pool. Sometimes we had to go up a few levels but I preferred that anyway. The sports zone was awesome. Best mini golf on any of the ships I have been on and we enjoyed playing shuffle board, ping pong and the other games. Nicely done! The areas to sit outside were more then plentiful. Something for everyone. Casino. I didn't spend any time here. Too smoky to make it enjoyable so I spent my money elsewhere. I was surprised at how much I loved the Atrium. I didn't think I would like the LCD centerpiece but it was really cool. They could use some better shops. These were basic and boring. The live music was also amazing in the Atrium. They had a violinist playing popular music. Even my kids wanted to stop and hear them play night after night. And they had real steel drums at the pool. Yay!!! Keep that up. Shows I thought were a little lacking. The one production of Flick was amazing but didn't really care to see a lot of the others. The comedians were good. I don't mind rated R shows but it did seem like a lot of the humor was not very funny compared to my past Carnival trips. The outside movies were great. I found the crew to be very friendly and had no complaints on the service. I did hear some passengers complaining about the most ridiculous stuff. I think the reason why most ships don't get higher marks is because there are a lot of experienced cruisers on these ships. I heard conversations like "I like the booths in the dining room on such a such ship better" and I liked the décor better on "such and such" etc. They have so much experience that they will always have had a better experience somewhere else but not all the best experience on any one ship. Just my opinion. Many repeat cruisers on this ship and it had only launched 6 months ago! My kids were in each of the different age kid centers and loved it. They didn't always stay in the center, but would meet up with kids and then go play in the arcade or get food etc. Try to encourage your kids to visit it on the first day so they can make friends. My kids only want to cruise now because they get to meet people as opposed to going to a resort and being stuck with mom at night. :) I did not do the cheers program and think it was the right call for me. I did really enjoy the Alchemy bar. It was so fun to sit there and watch them make drinks and light things on fire. You could just give them a suggestion and they would make something up for you. I would say I want something light and not very fruity. Voila, a drink would be concocted. I did learn to bring a drink into the comedy shows because bar service was spotty. They only had 2 waiters working and depending upon where you were in the lounge they may not have gotten over to you. Grand Turk - We enjoyed Jack's Shack and Margaritaville. Bonaire - We loved the SeaCow excursion. We had all snorkeled before but we really enjoyed this trip. Aruba - I booked Jolly Pirate on my own and the kids and I had a blast! Snorkeling was only so but my kids loved the rope swing. St. Martin - We were here on Thanksgiving with 7 ships. I booked Robinson Boat Tours and we had a 6 hour 14 person speedboat that took us to both sides of the island including lunch, snorkeling stops and Moho Beach. It was the best excursion we have EVER taken. Highly recommend and they were great when Carnival changed our itinerary two days before and then changed it back the day before our sailing. Dismemberment was a breeze. We had the best vacation. Yes there are things we could find to complain about but why bother. We were on vacation. Great memories made! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have been on two Princess cruises previously in 2013, a 7 day on Ruby and 10 day on Emerald. At the time I told Princess that the food and service was excellent but the space was so cramped we would not travel with them again. We saw ... Read More
I have been on two Princess cruises previously in 2013, a 7 day on Ruby and 10 day on Emerald. At the time I told Princess that the food and service was excellent but the space was so cramped we would not travel with them again. We saw the Royal and decided to try a newer ship. We had a Premium Deluxe Balcony. !. The music offered was fantastic both bands and individual performers. We both enjoy music, not particulary shows. Though the Saxophone Show was great. 2. The service was excellent. 3. Even with this largest balcony we were shocked at the tiny cabin. I think the Interior on the Royal Caribbean and Carnival are the same size. 4. My husband remarked after we were on the ship four hours, "Everything is so cramped". 5. The food was unremarkable, not bad but not exceptional as we thought three years ago. We could see the cuts made by Princess during those three years. 6. We told Princess that we would not travel with them again because we were horrified by the lack of hygiene by passengers in the food areas and the failure of Princess to direct passengers to wash hands as I've seen on my previous twenty cruises in the last six years. This newer ship had lovely handwashing alcoves before each entrance to the Buffet. No crew member directed anyone to them. I asked a crewmember in the Buffet why and he responded that passengers had complained that they were being told to wash their hands. So they were told not to do so. I saw at most ten people using them in our ten days on the ship. As we entered the Buffet there was no crew member placing a dab of Purell in anyone's hands. When I asked another crew member she also responded that they were told not to do so nor to direct passengers to Purell stands beside the plates and bowls. I saw less people using these than the handwashing alcoves. In the Dining Room, elevators and Buffet I saw passengers sneezing without covering their faces with anything. On the ninth day of the cruise in the Buffet a woman reached around me as I was using the tongs to remove some food and grabbed food directly from the buffet tray. I said, "What are you doing" and she responded, 'Huh". The lack of hygiene was appalling. By the sixth day I was hearing passengers saying in elevators and beside us in the Buffet and Dining Room that people were getting sick. Surprise! We will never cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was one of the few that left from Melbourne, so we didn't have the hassle of planes/trains etc prior to the trip. We enjoyed the ports of call, and some of the staff couldn't have been better. However, the overall food and restaurant experience were appalling. Bad organisation, cheap food, no change of menu, no flexibility with dining times, having to queue for breakfast, upstairs pantry - don't even go there .... you had to pay for a lot of the food, and which cruise line does not put food on after 9 pm on New Year's Eve, for heaven's sake? THIS ONE!!! We would hang out to be on shore just so we could find something decent to eat. The biggest problem with P&O is that even though they get you to complete a survey on your experience, they don't seem to give a toss at how bad the review is. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It ... Read More
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It was an interesting and pleasant trip; we chose this for the itinerary (5 stops were new for us) and to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the tropics. Weather was warm (80s) and humid with plenty of rain showers and rolling seas. We were a full ship with ca 680 passengers. Most passengers appeared to be seasoned cruisers, and a good number of languages were heard. While there were a small number of children on board, there were no facilities or activities for them; that was their parents’ responsibilities. We had a suite (7th deck) that made for a most comfortable cruise. However, due to the small size of the ship, you do hear and feel the ship’s engine, especially when the speed is adjusted up or down. Also, the rocking and rolling of the Atlantic Ocean is much more pronounced on this ship, compared to any of the “regular” size ships of 2,000 – 3,000 passengers. 2. Travel to Miami and Embarking: Because we booked so early, we were among the passengers who were caught when Princess changed the port from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. We were unable to change our plane or hotel reservations, but our cruise agent worked with Princess so that we could take a bus from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami port and reverse. A nuisance, but it worked out, and we were not alone. Check-in at Miami port worked smoothly, and we got on the ship quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared – piecemeal - in the afternoon. 3. The Ocean Princess: An attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Yes, it is being sold to Oceania effective in early April, and the ship may have had a slight tired look about it. However, the facility was still top notch and the crew was the same. Our suite was a delight with all the space and storage drawers/closets. Details can be seen in the cabin descriptions on the Princess website. The bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator. The balcony is spacious; however, we hardly used it due to rain showers, rocking and rolling, or the sun beating down on clear days. When we could sit outside, it was very pleasant. The flat screen TVs (set up for DVD movies) received the usual news, movies, music, etc. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are practically no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does a daily report from the bridge, and the Cruise Director may make a daily announcement on activities. There is no daily newspaper; you have to receive your news from BBC, Fox; financial news from CNBC or MSNBC; and sports from two ESPN channels. 4. Meals: As often on past cruises with other lines, we ran into problems in trying to get a table for two at dinner. Due to the ship being small, it had no “my time” dining. On boarding we learned that the first seating was changed from 6PM to 5:30 (nursing home hours). Next, we learned that although our cruise agent had been assured that our request for a table for two was confirmed, we were placed at a table for eight (nursing home group therapy). My wife and I both groused at the maître d, who finally backed off by telling us, “come see me at 5:30.” At that time we were shown a table for two, obviously hastily arranged, as were other tables for two around the dining room. We later received a card formally informing us that our table was permanent for the cruise. As for meals in the dining room, they were very good. There was clearly some talent in the kitchen, and we appreciated it. As we always had the same table, our wait staff did get used to our tastes. The wine list was also good, whether you wanted a bottle or a glass. We should note that no matter what ship or line you are on, including the Ocean Princess, the first night’s dinner is disorganized as diners and staff sort out who sits where and when. Panorama Buffet: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. The dessert area was equally varied. We did not use the two specialty restaurants (Italian, and steak), only because we are not big eaters. 5. Princess dress code: There were three formal nights; the rest were all “smart casual.” “Formal” for men meant mainly suits and sport coats; tuxedos were a minority. Casual was just that; most men did wear shirts instead of t-shirts. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. Two of the eight ports were tender ports. In both ports, the waters were quite active, resulting in the tender boats bouncing around quite a bit during loading and unloading. Crew members literally had their hands full helping passengers on and off the boats. Also, tender boats are the ship’s life boats; they are not made for comfort and you have to clamber around in them for a seat. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw two of the individual entertainers and one of the “show” performances with singers and dancers. They were all pleasant. A reminder that the ship has a cabaret and not a theater. This means that there are no seats on tiers; they are all on one level. Your view of the stage is easily blocked by the person(s) in front of you. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, movies, etc, etc. The library appeared to be well stocked. There are NO art auctions. (Thank you, Princess.) The casino was small (three blackjack tables and one roulette table). The machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer. This was the first ship where you only sometimes signed a ticket, and you sometimes received a copy of the ticket. Unless you keep your own notes on what you charged on your account, you will not have a clear idea of your bill until departure morning. I did ask for a preliminary bill a couple days before disembarking, and it was immediately supplied without question. If you do not do this, though, and you find questionable items on your bill, you will be spending departure morning in line at the Front Desk sorting it out. 10. Disembarking in Miami: Disembarking went very smoothly, and there were no bureaucratic delays. Once we got off the ship, we picked up our luggage and cleared customs and immigration in ten minutes. (Amazing.) 11. Conclusion: This was an enjoyable and interesting trip. The hiccups were minor and did not detract from the Ocean Princess or our enjoyment of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on board in the Caribbean. We are sorry to see this ship sold to another line, but hope that its sister, Pacific Princess, will remain on itineraries in which we might be interested. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present ... Read More
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present Captain. As many have said before... Happy crew.... happy passengers! It was a joyful trip over the Christmas holidays, even with so many children on board. They were well behaved and it was much appreciated.There were so many things planned for all age groups that you really didn't see many of them. The teenager in our group was busy 24/7. Embarkation and disembarkation were the smoothest I have ever experienced. I love the new pier Princess has in San Francisco. I will travel out of this port anytime. I just can't wait for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have ... Read More
We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have nothing bad to say about the cabin, the crew or the entertainment as it was all good. However, I do think they need to rethink their port stops as there are only three and it appears that they regularly miss at least one of them, making it a long time at sea. The itinerary was meant to be: Day 1 & 2: At sea Day 3: Port Canaveral, Florida Day 4: Great Stirrup Cay (private Island) Day 5: Nassau, Bahamas Days 6 &7: Two days The ports are sandwiched between two days at sea on either end of the cruise and as there are only three, they are important. Our first port was meant to be Port Canaveral on day three of the cruise, where many families had spent a lot of money arranging trips to the Space Centre and to Walt Disneyworld. For whatever reason ( it was never explained) the ship didn't arrive in the port until 2 pm which meant that all visits were heavily curtailed. I felt really sorry for some of the families who had spent a small fortune on travelling to Disney but only managed a couple of hours there. Furthermore, as the ship was so late in berthing, the RCI Anthem of the Seas also pulled in alongside which meant that there was insufficient transport to take passengers away from the port. An absolute logistical disaster. The following day was meant to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island and everyone on board was really looking forward to it, given the previous day's events. By mid-morning, we were still at sea and it wasn't until after 11 am that the Captain came on to the PA to announce that we wouldn't be going there as the tenders couldn't get in. Fair enough, I thought, as this was always a possibility. Later on, whilst checking online and speaking to the crew, this is a common occurrence for this destination and the tenders often don't make it. As an alternative, we travelled to Nassau early, but it was pitch dark and no one left the ship. There will always be adverse conditions that affect the ability of the ship to berth at certain ports, however NCL should reconsider this itinerary if they arrive late at the first stop and often don't make it to the second. I might cruise with NCl again, but I cannot recommend this itinerary for the reasons given; its too high risk. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have ... Read More
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have been on 10+ cruises and this one being our second on NCL. Mostly sail from FLL or Miami to enjoy the newer boats and better weather but took a chance on the Jade because of the convenience and value. We were a little concerned by all the November and December negative reviews but it appears they have most of the earlier problems worked out. The bartenders were good and I discovered a new favorite drink- the Moscow Mule! Have it made with Tito's vodka! Ultimate Bev Package worked well although the selections are not as good as Celebrity's program. We dined at Grand Pacific each night and other than the first night (when they were rather overrun) we had no trouble with service. The food was okay but was not impressive. It seems the days of lobster, escargot, or a nice jumbo shrimp cocktail are over on NCL. Not sure if this is because of the emphasis on all of the specialty restaurants but overall a step back from previous cruises within the last few years. For instance one night I had Prawns in Alfredo sauce which was good- the "prawns" however were about the size of a nickel. C'mon, I wouldn't mind "shrimp" with Alfredo but don't get my hopes up... Didn't go to all the shows but the ones we did get to were great- The Elements show was probably the best I have seen at sea. The reggae band on the pool deck was great and I enjoyed listening to them very much- pool deck always had chairs available. 4 year old really enjoyed the kiddie pool and made friends there which helped with the drop off at the kids club the couple of times he went. The two early teens in the family made friends and had a great time while onboard. White Hot Party was fun but was better on the NCL Sun where they held the event outside and had more staff involved. The ship is a little old and showing some age in places but overall not bad. While we had a completely full sailing it did not seem crowded at most times. Everyone that I encountered both passenger and crew seemed in high spirits. The Hawaiian theme is weird and I missed the multistory atrium that is found on most ships of this size. The Christmas décor was mostly disappointing- they tried a little. Having Santa there on Christmas morning was really nice for our 4 y.o. and the carolers were fun. Arrived early back in Houston due to weather which was no problem and seeing the fog as we came up the ship channel Friday afternoon it was probably a good call by the captain. We took a cab to Paradise beach in Cozumel based on CC reviews and it was very nice. Lots of water toys to use on the beach, pool, showers- just what we were looking for this time. Its not an all inclusive so everything was al a carte and they ask you to spend $10 in food/bev...$15 for use of all the non motor water toys. Belize tender was no problem. Did cave tubing and zip line with cavetubing r us. Fantastic experience and the owner/operator David was very knowledgeable about his country/enjoys his job! More time in the river, better tubes, half the cost of the ship. Roatan tender was no problem- we didn't have as much time in port as I would have liked but we visited West Bay beach through bananarama. Awesome beach and snorkeling but very crowded with 5 ships visiting that day. Of all the cruises we've been on I can say that they all have been 5 stars+ and I have always appreciated the hard work the staff puts in to make sure everyone's experience is a great one but withholding a star this time because of the big food decline in the main dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.” The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants. The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space. Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December. The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one. We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty. The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation. Did I mention how great the food was? We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice. There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will. It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles. The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all. Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was my 3rd cruise on Princess, and the first on Emerald. I understand that the ship just came out of dry dock, but I couldn't really figure out what had been updated other than the Effy jewelry boutique that took up a large ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise on Princess, and the first on Emerald. I understand that the ship just came out of dry dock, but I couldn't really figure out what had been updated other than the Effy jewelry boutique that took up a large amount of the shopping area. I'm not sure why Princess cruises made the decision to give so much real estate to such an expensive jewelry store. The pieces are terribly overpriced for mass produced jewelry in my opinion and they were pushing it hard. I'm not sure if this jewelry line meets the demographics of the Princess customer base, but time will tell. Embarkation was a breeze- and my daughter and I were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. The Muster drill was rather disorganized and took much longer than previous cruises. When I embarked on the ship I immediately called for reservations and was informed that Sabatini's Italian restaurant no longer existed. It has been replaced with the restaurant called "share" which comes with a $39 per person cover charge. Needless to say my husband and I did not eat at "share" but we did dine at the Crowne grill and were not disappointed. We did not have hot water for the first two days, and learned from other passengers that this was a problem for them as well. Air-conditioning did not run cold but this was ok with us as we tend not to like air-conditioning anyway. But for some people it was a real problem. I didn't let this ruin my cruise so I just took cool showers quickly and spent most of my time outside. We were upgraded from an ocean view to a premium balcony room which was nice but honestly I wouldn't of paid the extra money for it. The balcony was almost as big as the room and we didn't use it as much as I had expected. The ride down was very rocky and there were gale force winds according to the captain. At one point the pools had to be drained and closed because they became unsafe due to the movement of the water in the pools. I was up in the sanctuary area for most of the sea days and the noise from the wind was extremely loud but again I didn't mind- it's a cruise after all and you can expect wind and other kinds of noise. One issue with the sanctuary area is that you can hear some of the loud talkers down at the Lotus spa pool. They really should have a better way to soundproof this since you're paying $40 a day for the sanctuary area. In the main pools there were quite a few kids that were rough housing unsupervised which was a nuisance. Also, pools were pretty deep starting at about 5'3" which made it difficult for the young ones to swim around. There was no dedicated kids pool which would have been a good idea given the amount of children on board. This could've also mitigated the problem with some of the kids jumping and creating mayhem at the same time that adults and other kids wanted to swim. This resulted in most folks hanging onto the edges or trying to swing while avoiding the constant jumping in and pushing of the unsupervised kids. I actually saw some concerning behavior from the kids on the pool deck and became worried about safety and the deck attendance would not do anything. There was a group of kids that was really loud and splashing during the movie at night and one passenger got angry and yelled at them to be quiet. I'm a parent myself, and I really like kids but this just got really out of hand and affected other peoples enjoyment. My seven-year-old enjoyed the pelicans kids club. In her words- I really enjoyed the kids club. Because we got to go inside and ride bikes and do all these fun stuff. Had a pajama party which is really fun and we we got to do all these fun crafts and play with the Wii, which was where we we have a remote and we dance with that. We also got to do these fun crafts like making Masks and making bracelets and there was also a jungle gym which is pretty fun and you have to take your shoes off to go in , and before you go in the kids club you have to wash Your hands. The buffet food was unremarkable. There is decent salad at every meal. I agree with some other recent posters that the service in the dining room was excruciatingly slow. One night it took us three hours to have dinner. Staff were not particularly attentive and did not refill drinks in a timely manner. Most of the food arrived cold or lukewarm at best. This was one of the main reasons that my husband and I went to the crown grill for three of the nights. Since this is a Christmas cruise we had expected a special meal on Christmas evening. In fact this was touted as one of the features of the Christmas cruise. We were disappointed that there was really nothing special although there was some bland turkey and cranberry sauce but not the extravagant buffet or dining room event that we had expected. Santa made an appearance and gave our presents to the kids which was a bonus, and my daughter seem to have a great time with that. I still have the coffee shop at the international café, the pastries were outstanding. Entertainment was lackluster, but pretty standard in mainstream for this cruise line. We were in bed most nights by 10:30 PM so I can't speak for the late-night entertainment or the clubs. With all that said, I still like Princess and have two more cruises booked with them. A cruise is a cruise and it's what you make of it and I like cruising princess. I do think they need to make some improvements as I mentioned. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which ... Read More
I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which were fantastic and definitely worth it. This was my first time on the Crown but my 17th cruise overall. It has also been almost 10 years since I've cruised during Christmas and I was definitely unprepared for the 3,500 passengers that were onboard, 600 of which were kids. There were many holiday activities that were offered onboard which made the experience so much more enjoyable. Many of the activities, such as cookie decorating, visiting Santa Claus, building gingerbread houses, etc. were designed for small children and didn't allow any adult participation. The production shows were great, especially the all new Stephen Schwartz show "Magic To Do" which was fantastic and such a great and refreshing show for cruisers that have seen Princess's old production shows one too many times. My family and I have been to Mexico over a dozen times so we are familiar with the ports and thus, not interested in doing many excursions. Our first visit was Cabo San Lucas, which was of course is a tendered port. The weather was great for shopping and walking which is what we ended up doing. At Puerto Vallarta my family and I did the Los Veranos Canopy Tour which was absolutely fantastic, highly recommend it! Mazatlan had great dining, I especially love La Puntilla, which is a cheap beach side Mexican seafood restaurant that is within walking distance to the cruise terminal. We also made a stop at the Golden Zone to do some cheap shopping. We arrived in Manzanillo on Christmas Eve and it reached mid 90's by noon. It was hot and there wasn't a lot to do unless you were willing to drive an hour to their resort city. I did some local shopping and returned to the ship three hours after I got off. Manzanillo in my opinion was a wasted port stop. The service onboard the Crown was definitely below par, which I believe was influenced by the overwhelming number of people that were onboard. There were often long lines to the bathrooms, International Cafe, elevators, coffee/tea bar, etc. I had anytime dining and we ate in the dining rooms every night except one. It was obvious, just from a quick observation, that the waiters were under staffed. Each team had way more passengers than normal which made for incredibly slow and mediocre service. One night my family and I got our appetizers before we even got napkins, water, or utensils on our table. We constantly waited over 30 minutes just to get any bread or our orders in. However, our room attendant was excellent and very outgoing and social. The staff on board was mixed. Some staff members like the cruise director were great, while others came off a bit cold. I've never had any problems or complaints about the staff, however; on this cruise I was completely thrown off by how some of them were treating the passengers. There was one staff member who I found to be rude and arrogant towards passengers, on two separate occasions. Disembarkation and embarkation was easy and went smoothly. Overall, this cruise was still a lot of fun. The activities are fantastic and great for families. The new production shows are a must see. The crew were still great, but beware of some of the staff members. The food was average on this ship, nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven ... Read More
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven checked-in bags plus carry-ons. We marked each piece of checked luggage with bright green duct tape on the sides, top and handles, and made luggage tags out of candy-cane red striped paper slipped inside of plastic nametag holders and connected to the bags with zip ties. This made identifying our bags in the busy LAX airport very easy. We did have to pay for a luggage cart in a couple of places due to the number of bags, but we needed the extra items packed this time (more to come on that later). As our cruise was scheduled the day that the new Star Wars movie was to come out, we decided to stay in Hollywood and go to the Disney-owned El Capitan theatre (across from the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame) for a midnight showing of the movie. We bought these tickets online a couple of months earlier to ensure we'd have a seat. We rented a car and drove to Hollywood and parked at the highland mall to have access to the Lowes hotel, which is extremely nice and freshly renovated. The lobby of the hotel was filled with an amazing display of decorated gingerbread houses, which we really enjoyed looking through. Warning on this is that there's someone to pull your bags out of the car, and another porter (who won't take no for an answer) to whisk your bags up to your room. We spent $14 on tips before we got to the first night. Because we got in so late, we got a free upgrade to a huge room with a great view of the walk of fame. We got back from the movie and viewing the extensive prop and costume collection on display at El Capitan at about 3 AM. The next morning we did the short, 2-hour Paramount Studios tour, and enjoyed the short drive from Hollywood to the studio. The tour was really fun, with a tour guide driving us all over the backlots with stops to get out and see sound stages, prop rooms, a museum, the employee theatre, and backlot locations like the area that makes up New York City and more. They offer a four hour tour but we didn't want to be rushed for getting to the port. We had planned to get to the port at the beginning of debarkation and I would drop my husband and one kid off at the port with all the luggage, and drop the car off at the San Pedro location of the Hertz rental car, just a few blocks away. We did this and then Hertz dropped us off at the port for free. After having read numerous reviews about embarkation and the perks suite guests get, including priority embarkation and a suite lounge to wait, we were expecting to walk in, check in, and walk on board. We gave the porters our 7 bags and 7 dollars and went inside to an absolute madhouse. The entire building was completely full and we had to literally climb through and over people to find the check in area for suite passengers. Once we fought our way to the entrance of checkin it was smooth, but we were notified that at 1 pm there were still hundreds of passengers on the Ruby due to some immigration issue. We inquired about the suite lounge and the guest services lady said it would be completely overflowing if we could even get there. We were basically directed to 'find any spot we could' and wait. We waited over an hour before the passengers holding Black Elite / Suite cards were allowed to embark, so this was not a great start. (note, when we got home, I saw that Princess did email us during the morning of embarkation to let us know of the delay, but we weren't checking email that day.) However, once we crossed that gangway to the ship, magic happened. We walked into the piazza of the Ruby Princess, completely decked out with Christmas trees, garland, lights and three singers dressed in 1940's singer costumes in red and white singing lovely Christmas songs. At that moment, I felt the stress from the awful embarkation experience drain from my soul. We immediately caught an elevator and made our way to D101/105, the family suite on Dolphin Deck 9 to find a lovely, large group of rooms waiting for us, fresh from dry dock with amazing new beds. As other reviewers stated, the family suites are all the way at the forward end of the ship and there are two entries to the suite. One entry goes to the master bedroom with what felt like a king-size bed, a large closet and full bathroom. The other entry went into basically an interior room for the kids with twin beds and twin berths overhead, and a half bath, with two closets. Both bathrooms had a suite amenities bag, including some lotion, a loofa, gel eye cover, sunscreen, emory boards. Other amenities in the rooms included canvas totebags to keep, sewing kits to keep, fluffy robes to borrow, disposable spa slippers, notepads, and pens. Both rooms had desks with chairs and their own flat-screen TV's, refrigerators with ice buckets filled; they were connected by a family / living room with two love-seat sized couches that have seen better days and were not comfortable for long sits. There was also one sitting chair and a small table. There was a ton of storage nooks and crannies all over the suite, so much that we left a majority of the cabinets unused, which says a lot since we packed so much. The family room had a curved wall and then a sliding glass door out to the extremely oversized balcony with four chairs, a table, and two footstools. The chairs were not in my opinion, any kind of upgraded furniture for suite guests, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but the balcony location is directly under the bridge and with the best views of the sea and port anywhere on the boat. The downside of this suite is that it's on the front of the ship and there is no glass on the forward side of the balcony. We thoroughly enjoyed the balcony on port days and spent all our sailaways there, but on sea days the wind was very heavy (up to 40 knots some evenings), this particular balcony was so windy that we had to flip the furniture over because it was flying around. We recommended to the cruise line that they add a glass wall to the front to the expensive room's balcony could be usable on sea days. We had planned to eat lunch in the main dining room while all the other passengers fought their way through the horizon buffet. Unfortunately due to the lateness of disembarkation and embarkation there truly was no MDR open for lunch. We called dining reservation to book our complementary night at the Crown Grill (suite perk) and then left to get a piece of pizza to hold us over. One thing that was frustrating was that the time for the muster drill changed a couple of times, making it hard to plan for dinner, and getting showered, beforehand. One other thing we noticed about the ever-changing muster drill times was that these were being announced by a person with such broken English that we caught ourselves saying, 'what?' to each other to figure out the announcements, and we'd recommend to the cruise line that safety information be delivered in clear English in the future. We made it through muster drill, which was unlike we'd had on other cruiselines where you actually go to your lifeboat and put on your jacket. Here we met in the extremely crowded princess theatre and listened to announcements and then stood up to wriggle our way into lifejackets while trying not to elbow our neighbors. But it was over soon enough and we raced back to the room for the Crown Grill. The suite perk of a complementary entry fee to the specialty restaurants on embarkation day should not be left unused. The food and service in the crown grill is impeccable, and the food selection are amazing. At our table of four we had a huge tray of lobster tails, salads, steaks for three people, and prawns for the fourth. Everything was cooked perfectly and was a wonderful meal to celebrate the start of an amazing cruise. We also did not have to dress very nice that first night since luggage had not been delivered, although we all had on long pants and blouses/collared shirts since we packed them in carry ons along with our bathing suits. After dinner our luggage had arrived and I unpacked as much as possible. We already had two rounds of dirty laundry so we started the process of cataloguing and sacking up the laundry bags to take advantage of another suite perk - free laundry and dry cleaning. We also sent out all our formalwear for the trip to be dry cleaned and pressed for the first formal night. We sent laundry out six times during the trip and watched bills be added and removed on our stateroom account throughout the cruise. At the end I noted that we'd gotten over $500 in free laundry/cleanig services on the trip. All the laundry came back clean, pressed, and hung or folded, and had a little itchy label identifying us ironed inside each piece. I highly recommend taking advantage of this suite perk. Back to dining. On the first few days of the cruise, we ate breakfast all over the ship, including the buffet, room service and the international grill, but then we decided to try the suite perk of private-ish dining (only other suite passengers) in the crown grill. Immediately we knew we'd made a mistake by not doing this every day. The Maitre'd checked our name and room number one time and then recognized and greeted us each morning. This became one of the highlights of the trip - wonderful, personal service, fun conversations with wait staff, and really good coffee. We ordered things both on and off the menu, but highlights were the massive amounts of amazing bacon served, beautiful crustless French toast, fruit plates, and omelets with any ingredient you like. We enjoyed this part of the trip, and the same two or three waitstaff each morning that I actually cried on the last day of suite breakfast. (They give free mimosas at suite breakfast too, but we usually didn't have them.) From that first discovery, we only had breakfast there unless it was a port day with an early shore excursion meet time. On disembarkation day there was no suite breakfast but suite passengers were allowed to have room service, so we did that. On our room service mornings, we ordered ungodly amounts of food to feed four people and the waitstaff a;ways had it there at the beginning of the service time we'd requested. To. The. Minute. They would come in, set out a table cloth and then lay down the food and leave after getting a small tip. We had nice conversations with the same waitstaff each morning and became friends with this young lad as well. For lunches, we mostly did pizza, hotdogs/hamburgers and the buffet. I think we ate in a MDR one time for lunch but that takes a lot of time so we preferred to grab and go for lunchtime. The hamburgers on the ship are the best around, so don't miss out on that. Dinners we had anytime dining and enjoyed the MDRs many nights. The selection and quality of food were good, but dinner was always time consuming. We did the buffet one night at 5, which is officially snack time, not dinner time. This was a mistake and we felt like it was 'scraps' being served. This put us off the buffet for several days until we tried it again one night after 530 and found that it was better food a little later. In the MDRs we did shared/social tables a lot and actually enjoyed meeting people who've traveled all over. We did not expect to enjoy that, so it was a good surprise. The desserts including the chocolate journeys, were all pretty much perfect and delicious. For Christmas they served turkey and dressing along with a large selection of really nice dishes. On New Year's eve, they served prime rib, escargot, several nice fish dishes, among other tasty treats. They also passed out hats and party favors, which was a nice touch. On drinks. there are perpetual coffee, tea, hot water machines in the buffet, and you can order lemonade for free in the buffet as well. The coffee in the buffet is NOT the same as room service or the MDR/suite breakfast and is frankly, awful. We came to call it, 'sludge.' If you're a coffee drinker, we recommend having it delivered via room service along with free hot chocolate for the kiddies, served in cute teapots. Our kids also got the drink cards and went to the international cafe for mocktails and hot chocolate numerous times. They probably paid for the drink cards 3x over, so we'd do that again. We bought about ten drinks in bars over the course of the cruise and spent a little over $100 on that. We also took advantage of the free mini-bar that started with 2 courvosiers, 2 vodkas, 2 gins, and 2 whiskeys, along with 2 beers, 2 perriers and 2 bottled waters (another suite perk). We did leave a note for our room steward that we wanted to swap the gins, the perriers for other things and he changed them out on his next visit. This leads me to the Room Steward, who was amazing and friendly. Not a lot to say other than we had a perfect experience with him. We did wrap a Christmas gift for him and gave a little cash in a card on Christmas morning. It turns out he is from the Phillipines with a wife and young son at home. Our room was thoroughly cleaned and we enjoyed visiting with him. We got corsages and boutonnieres delivered free (suite perk) on the first formal night, enjoyed canapes in the room, and chocolates delivered on formal nights as well. One other thing on the room. As promised, here's why we had so much luggage. We packed a Christmas tree, room decorations, magnetized door decorations for two doors, tinsel, lights, stockings, Christmas table cloths, unwrapped presents, stocking stuffers, and paper/bags/tissue. We decided to do a regular Christmas. So we took the time to really decorate it up. A lot of other cabins did their doors so that made the trip extra fun. After I wrapped presents, I gave the cabin steward all of the leftover wrapping supplies to share with crew. At the end of the cruise, I left two suitcases worth of decorations, which also got taken downstairs after I discussed it with the cabin steward. I'm so glad we drug extra bags with us to do this. Things we enjoyed doing on the ship included trivia three times daily, led by the cruise director's staff. Each session was hilarious and entertaining. We also went to a magic show (meh), and then a big production magic show (excellent), a culinary demonstration and galley tour (amazing and funny), karoke night, a blackjack tournament, the casino, movies under the stars, a couple of lectures, hula lessons, the voice of the ocean contest, and just so much more. We also enjoyed binge watching the Love Boat series, showing on the TV's 24 hours a day. My husband is still watching episodes now that we're home. There was so much to do we just couldn't do it all, and that's the way it should be. My husband and daughter did the behind the scenes tour (highly recommend this). You need to sign up for this on day 1 at passenger services, as it's limited to 12 people. This cruise did a second round on the way back so we got in with our late signup. This tour was about 3 hours in length, cost $150 and was worth every penny to see the bottom floors of the ship, meet the captain, and all kinds of special access things. When they got back, each of them received pictures of them throughout the ship with their tour group and the captain, a frame, a robe, customized stationary. We thought this was a really nice touch. Our teenage son had the most wonderful trip. The teen club kept him hopping and with friends from afar all day long. There were most days on the ship that we didn't see him and had to set check in times or tell him that x activity/dinner with the family was mandatory. He just had so much fun with the teen hot tub parties, formal nights, video games, etc There's a lot about his trip that we'll never know but we always felt he was safe and out of trouble so c'est la vie. Our ten year old daughter had sign out privileges of the kids club and she enjoyed the evening movies in there and a few of the daytime activities. They had full schedules but the boat was very full of kids so she often preferred to hang out with us, especially once she started having so much fun at all the trivias. We swam a few times and did hot tubs a few times too. I used the thermal spa (suite perk) many many days, and loved this free aminity. All but one day I was the only one there. My routine for this was to wake up at 745 and have bathing suit/robe on and be in the hall by 755, spa by 8 when they opened. I'd check in (leave my cruise card) at the spa desk, make my way to the waiting area for massages to get an icy lemon water to take downstairs with me, then I'd shower in a cool fog shower and sit in an aromatherapy grotto for as long as I could stand, shower again, and then fall asleep on the 'rock chairs' (heated chairs), covered in towels. I'd wake myself up snoring and then drag my way back to the room to get ready for the day. There's nice soft music playing in there and it was a great place to reflect and meditate (sleep). If you're a suite passenger, don't miss this perk. I loved the solitude and relaxation. One other note about the spa - my son got a good haircut on the ship for $35, which was high, but it was a good haircut. We loved New Year's on the ship, which was a fun, (very formal) night on board. Tuxes and real gowns were the order of the day. We were glad to have these items, as even going to the show would be awkward when not dressed like everyone else. We also participated in a gingerbread house making contest, and had packed a ton of little sweets, lights, and decorations for it. We were disappointed to find we couldn't use the items, scissors or anything else to help us, but it still turned out to be a jolly fun time for all. We were AMAZED to see some of the creations people came up with using only the things provided in the box. As a side note, after the contest the ship put out a huge display of their chef-created gingerbread houses which were unlike any I've ever seen anywhere, so beautiful. Shore Excursions - we did the volcanoes national park excursion on Hawaii through princes. This was a large bus full of people and a day packed with activities and a lunch. If you want to hike, see a ton of the island in one day, we'd recommend this. Bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water. Also, lunch isn't until 130 or so, so you might want to throw in a protein bar or other packaged item for this excursion. No ship food is allowed offboard. On Oahu, we rented a car and prearranged for pearl harbor tickets. We spent the morning there then did the dole pineapple plantation (a waste of time in my opinion), drove to the North Shore to watch the surfers enjoy the big wintertime waves (expect heavy, slow traffic full of people in bikinis), and then we drove to Waikiki and spend the last few hours of sun in the lagoons by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We watched sunset on Waikiki, dropped the boys off at the ship and then the girls went shopping. It rained on an off during this day, but it did not keep us from thoroughly enjoying a convertible and warm weather. ON Maui Christmas Day, we took a snorkel boat, which was waiting for us at the tender point. Weather was very rough, and the captain couldn't get us to Molokini Crater that day. We instead went to two amazing snorkel sites that were calm and just wonderful, with tons of fish, turtles, eels, rays, etc. We had nice breakfast and lunch on the snorkel boat and went from the boat back to our tender, never really seeing Maui, which was just perfect. On Kauai, we did the tour of the island in a minibus that took us to all the movie sites. It was a cool setup - the guide had a TV in the front of the bus where he'd show 'so many' clips of scenes filmed in a location while we were driving. Then we'd look up and boom, we'd be at the same spot we'd just seen on screen. Things like gilligan's island, jurassic park, just so many movies made here, for a reason. Kauai is beautiful and the beaches are the best and most beautiful in the world. We saw the entire east half of the island, had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, and saw the property of many celebrtieis like Bette Midler, Mark Zuckerberg, and also where Elvis had a bungalo at the CocoPalms resort. A very full day that got us back to the ship with minutes to spare before sailaway. My comment on Hawaii was that we'd like one more day there, made up with faster ship speed or a day tacked on. We didn't have enough time to see it all, especially on Oahu. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada, which appears to be a poverty-stricken, dirty port that has brown water and heavy industry. I heard from other passengers that they were followed numerous times by families with small children begging and/or selling items, and that they felt not good about this. I'm glad we stayed on the ship, packed and enjoyed our last day of eating too many desserts. We discovered late in the cruise the cruise messenger service, which you can access free on your iphones. We recommend figuring this out on day 1 to keep track of those in your party. This eliminates the need for walkie talkies and whiteboards, both of which we very rarely saw on this cruise. What did I forget to pack? A clock - they're rare on the ship. I saw a few outside the elevators, and around the pools. Other than that, you're left to wonder what day and time it is. There is a channel on the ship where it scrolls the ship's position and time, but we sure wished I'd brought that clock. I would not pack beach towels or snorkel equipment again. We used the excursion's equipment and brought ship's striped towels with us, along with all the other passengers doing water activities. Disembarkation was well communicated in advance. We asked for a 930 disembarkation and knew where to have luggage when, and where to be (club fusion / suite members). We did have room service that morning, and then enjoyed coffee in the disembarkation lounge while we waited. This was smooth and on time. We had a wonderful time on this cruise, came back totally disconnected from the real world and with so many fond memories. Other than the few bumps, we'd highly recommend this cruise to families or anyone who wants to be around other travelers for two major holidays. Just a great great cruise. Also, if you think this might be your only time to Hawaii and you can spare the money, we highly recommend getting a suite if there's one available. The perks of the suite breakfast, the thermal spa, priority tenders, free flowers and special chocolates made our trip so special that it was definitely worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new ... Read More
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new Horizon Court was extremely fresh and welcoming - providing and array of foods (greasy and non-greasy) depending on taste. A nice addition was the Italian Cafe offering cakes and pastries and in the afternoon some sliced meats and cheese. We learnt on the cruise that the beds are finally getting an upgrade - about time. This is overdue and will provide an important to sleeping comfort. It was disappointing that many parents with children on board, forgot that they needed to provide adult supervision. I witnessed on several occasions inappropriate behaviour of children, particularly around the staircases and in the lifts (pressing every button when exiting). It was great to hear the Captain (although shouldn't have had to do) remind parents and children about the safety aspects and conduct around the ship. For those parents who were upset by these announcements - maybe look at your kids! Tender disembarkation was good at those ports requiring tenders. However, tender disembarkation is always slow, so may have upset some who had to wait for a tender. Return services from the islands was great. Overall, the cruise was value for money and very relaxing. Looking forward to sailing on the Sea Princess again soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did ... Read More
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did have a fridge in our cabin and yes it was cold. Everything was spotless and very tidy. Our cabin stewards were really great. Always greeted us with a friendly "Good Morning" and a smile. The restaurants were really lovely, the food was always hot & very tasty [plenty of it, never felt hungry afterwards]. We didn't mind having to line up to book Angelo's or the Dragon Lady restaurants. We loved the new idea in the pantry for lining up for food. Much more hygienic for everyone. Great selection and very tasty. All the shows were great. We thought the renovations of the ship were really lovely, very posh and classy. The shops had a great range of different items to buy, not too expensive either. The ports & shore excursions were great, loved the free time to just wander around & shop. The only downside was the whingers. We have cruised many times on different ships, but never have we heard so many people whinge, moan & criticise the ship, crew, meals, shows & restaurants. In our opinion, it is obvious they don't like to be out of their comfort zone, so instead of them annoying other people like us with their comments, maybe they should just stay home or holiday some other way. We would certainly recommend the Pacific Aria to our friends and family for a lovely restful holiday, minus the whingers we hope. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets ... Read More
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets so a free for all and chaos. Thankfully, no accident or it would be worse than a Costa disaster. Library not there...empty shelves! .. (Do not make money so took them out). Entertainment programme dire, as just hard sell all day... Promoting the spa, Effy Diamonds, shops....you name it. Anything interesting was lumped into the first hour so all day could be 'open your wallet'. Christmas and New Year very poor. Atrium is social centre...not big enough for such a big ship so pictures look good......but majority of passengers cannot see/hear/dance/use. Three days at sea and we left ports at 4.30pm?????? Could not see what we wanted....yet next port only four hours sail away?? One port was San Martin, a disused sandy area with NOTHING there......and they had the audacity to charge $16 each to be shuttled ten minutes away to a tiny resort....no taxis to do it yourself. Only there to pick up Macho Picchu excursions and cheaper than staying in Lima.....money, money money taken with no thought of the other passengers....the majority! Lots MORE but needless to say NEVER AGAIN ON PRINCESS. Check their history of diseases! In Nicaragua we had our temperatures taken as we left the tender....'"this ship has a bad record....we do not want here"!! NO sanitasation getting back on and folk going straight to eat at the buffet and restaurants...again sanitisation optional!!!! TempeLong delays getting off in places as immigration checking the loads who used the doctor...same numbers self medicated so iver 700?? Theatre was a cacophony of coughing, sneezing and spluttering but authorities NOT sanitising or cleaning banisters and denying any problem or sickness.......AWFUL! Think Carnival is now pushing money, money money.....so will not be using the other lines under their umbrella. Woukd rather sail, .....enjoy .....and survive!!! Sailed for forty years and this was the WORSE cruise, ship, management, sickness incidence numbers and programme/port times etc. Nightmare 31 days. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much ... Read More
This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much more subdued than her sister ships Paradise and Ecstasy. I really wish they could find a better way to vent cigarette smoke, because it sometimes became overpowering when the bars/casino were busy. Embarkation Easiest embarkation yet! New Orleans Port Parking was simple and the porters were friendly and very helpful. We arrived at 1030 am and boarded at 1130ish. Our room was ready by 1230. Our luggage arrived just before muster. Stateroom We had a porthole room on the Main Deck. M 14. The room was very large. We had a lot of motion, but it wasn't really a problem. The ship moved quite a bit everywhere. The water was rough and we had some 50 mph winds. Entertainment We probably spent 75% of our time in the Comedy club. We loved both comedians. They showed college and NFL playoff games on the big screen in that room. They provided football clappers and poms. I wish they would have had popcorn and/or munchies, but it was a great place to watch a game. We enjoyed several trivia games and won a ship on a stick. The shows were okay. Food As long as they continue to serve warm chocolate melting cake, I'll always give the food good reviews. I prefer the main dining room over the buffet, but both were good. I really loved the pumpkin soup and lobster. Breakfast in the dining room was good as well. I would have eaten the buffet more, but the wind was really strong, making our preferred outdoor seating impossible. Service The service was just okay on this cruise. Our cabin steward wasn't around as often as we've come to expect from our previous cruises. He was nice, but he seemed to just be going through the motions. I called about ice the afternoon of the second day and he kind of snapped that he was off duty and I'd have to call room service. I was ok with the room service referral, but the attitude was a little off putting. I asked for extra glasses and he looked at me like I was asking for something impossible. The girl assisting him was very friendly. Most members of the dining staff were great. The customer service desk was very helpful. Cozumel I love Cozumel. We booked Mr Sanchos All Inclusive for the second time. They provide great service! Our waiter, Erizel, gave us a cabana and table away from everyone. He was always around for yummy drink refills and food. We left Sanchos and spent a few hours shopping at port. Disembarkation This was not my favorite disembarkation. They call so many groups down together, it created very long lines. Why have zones at all if you're going to lump them all together? Overall I really enjoyed this cruise. My experience on the ship was mostly great. I believe it was well worth the money we paid. I would go again tomorrow if I could!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long ... Read More
15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long waits and are very hot. WINDJAMMER On Sea days it is very difficult to get a seat. Food is generally OK with lots of variety. Desserts are average. Announcements are made for you to move out once finished  eating. Walking areas like public freeway traffic. COFFEE Coffee from Cafe Promenade (Starbucks) is good if customised but has no table service area. Service was quick with short queues generally. LOUNGES AND BARS Due to $80 Million refurbishment there are less lounges and bars to sit in (due to addition of extra cabins) REFURBISHMENT (EXTRA CABINS) Ship CANNOT cope with the extra people they have added. Ship's original capacity 3138 has expanded to 3700-3900 SAPPHIRE DINING ROOM We had 6pm seating. Menu changed every day (also menu has a Classic - Always available selection) Very good variety. Temperature problems with food - Soup - luke warm and Fish never hot. After making a complaint to Head Waiter all future meals on our table were always hot and service significantly improved. JUNIOR SUITE Very comfortable (Cabin 1612) lots of space and well maintained by cabin steward. ENTERTAINMENT Very lacking. Two nights in La Scala theatre there were no shows on (only played a movie). Only two main production shows. The singers/dancers had an easy cruise. The rest were guest entertainers with mixed standard (please avoid the Hypnotist - unless you want a nap) GYM Equipment is good and reasonably large area. Plenty of cardio equipment. Music is way too loud for comfort. Noisy spa in centre of gym area. Some staff with attitude. DIAMOND STATUS LOUNGES Excellent - especially to escape the masses. One lounge on deck 14 and a Diamond area for breakfast and lunch in the Sapphire dining room (deck 4 left side at rear). ROYAL PROMENADE Nowhere to sit. Too crowded on theme nights. Dancing is impossible - the area blocked by crowds standing around or through traffic. No view of the ocean. SUMMARY If you need to cruise on RCL then the Radiance of the Seas is a much better choice. Voyager has a public crowd feel about it. Better still try another line (CELEBRITY or PRINCESS) for more intimate cruising. COST CUTS by RCCL: No free lobster night. No baked alaska night. No chef's parade. No chocolates on pillow. No toiletries for balcony or lower. Windjammer closes at 9pm (no supper provided). No fruit carving demonstrations , ice sculpting or cooking demos. No enrichment classes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of ... Read More
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA. We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system. We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable. The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week. We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not. The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there. The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good. Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners. Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners. Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise booking director need more training, not helpful at all. But the awesome shopping guide was worth loosing an hours sun bathing time, to find out where all the great deal were. The ports of call were ok, not as good as The Bahamas. Falmouth Jamaica was VERY artificial as was the last island on the itinerary. This was a Christmas cruise and apart from the decorations and the Christmas carol sing-a-long on Christmas Eve, there was nothing else. Christmas Day felt very flat, no excitement on the boat. We booked a Sunday flight and a night in Miami after the cruise, this allowed us to disembark 1st and take our luggage off. I highly recommend this strategy as having to wait around the boat for your exit time is a pain as we discovered on our first cruise. The extra night in Miami allowed us to get our land legs back! To summerise - great value for money. But if you want 24 hour entertainment and fancy food. (Lobster, crab etc) choose another line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only ... Read More
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only to be disappointed on the Aria. We will go on the dawn again. Everyday we participated in some activity from going on the tender boats to the various islands and at night enjoying the karaoke and shows. Love the trivia. Food was absolutely beautiful. Staff were fantastic and so friendly. what more can I say it was an amazing cruise. Thank you for all the wonderful people we met. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Embarkation was to be in 10 minutes from pier to room. No Way rooms not ready until 1pm. Door locked so you could not go to room. Now to the windjammer which was quit nice and food selection great. Homemade cookies baked fresh daily from ... Read More
Embarkation was to be in 10 minutes from pier to room. No Way rooms not ready until 1pm. Door locked so you could not go to room. Now to the windjammer which was quit nice and food selection great. Homemade cookies baked fresh daily from 11 to 9. A great new tradition. At 1 we tried to get to room but were told not until 2PM. We finally got to the room 11252 which is a balcony room which had adequate storage, new bathroom with larger shower. Nicely done. There were wrist band to use instead of the cards. Neither band worked so we relied on the cards for the 11 nights. We were able at 2 wks out to obtain dining and show reservations with help of C&A. The thing with the dining was the even without a reservation you could go up to the dining room entrance and share a table and get seated right away. We ate at the American Icon and the food was very poor as the service at dinner time. We ate at this restaurant for Breakfast and lunch and was great food and service. Do not know what dinner was so bad. Chic was one of our favorite place for dinner. We had 3 meals here, but the trouble the menus remain identical. So same old each night. Silk was good for 2 nights. The food was good, but again it was the same menu for the 2 nights. They really tried to get us to buy drinks. The Grande was for 2 night for which a jacket is required (formal). The menu was nice and had lobster, good meal and service. Coastal Kitchen was a special allowance for us for 2 nights. This was the best meal choices and service on board. It is a restaurant designated for Pinnacle and Suite guests. They service breakfast, lunch and dinner there. We only had dinner at this location due to being only Diamond Plus. Chops was a paid for dining option which we did go on 1 night. We always go to Chops on ships for ding and this restaurant was not a disappointment. We loved the food and service. There were 6 other pay for dining which we did not use. Michael Pub, Devinely Decadence, Wonderland, Izumi Japanese, Jamies Italian, and Chef Table. Cafe 270 was the place we ate most breakfast and lunch. It is like the Park Cafe on other ships. It was always crowded. Windjammer food was same as on most ships but they had an addition of a bakery at the entrance of restaurant and they made fresh breads and homemade cookies. This was a wonderful addition to the cruise menu. Fresh and warm cookies wonderful and busy at most times. The entertainment was OK. RCCL paid for a Bionic Bar which looked large in most ads but in reality was quite small. Only say if used 2 times. The bars had a great selection to choose from and music good at most. The 270 theater had the windows which turn into pictures and the entertainment was about medium. The comedian John David was tremendous. The other entertainers were about average, not special. The daily activities were just normal as other ships, nothing spectacular. Shops on boards were all upscale and i mean upscale. They did the normal sales on watches almost every days and then a t shirt sale. They were all done in a small area in front of the shops and this made walking through a problem due to crowds. Stateroom entertainment was CNN, HLN, TMC and then RCCL channels. The computerized daily planner did not work in the room due to computer issues. We are Diamond Plus with many cruises under our travels, but on this ship there were 1300 plus loyal travelers on board. This made is hard to go to the evening 5 TO 8:30 cocktail hours in Diamond or Concierge lounges. There was only standing room most nights and service was hard to get. We heard on board that RCCL will be taking away our benefit to go to the concierge lounge as a Diamond Plus. They plan to make the concierge for Pinnacle and Suites Guests. How sad that we can go on 50 cruises with them but they want us to be lower than a person who may take 1 cruise book a suite and get that benefit. We spend lots of bucks on RCCL but they do not appreciate it. One good benefit they gave was 3 drinks at any bar during cocktail hours for Diamond Plus which was a nice touch. This should be implemented for other ships. Embarkation was a nightmare it was to be 8:30 and we got off at 10:30, the problem was customs and the baggage handlers, our bags were being delivered as we got there. A mess. We have booked the Anthem for Oct, 15 and cancelled when we came home. Ship beautiful and that is about it.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Excited to take this 12 day trip as a well deserved vacation break. The problems began with the embarkation process, inadequate seating, chaos and mayhem when they roll up the doors to proceed, and the problems continued all the way ... Read More
Excited to take this 12 day trip as a well deserved vacation break. The problems began with the embarkation process, inadequate seating, chaos and mayhem when they roll up the doors to proceed, and the problems continued all the way through, even with the disembarkation process. Keep in mind this is a new ship and yes there should be minor hiccups, but many were major. Problems with our balcony stateroom: Our room air conditioner was not properly working for two days, keep us at a sweltering 74 - 75 degrees in the room. Finally on the second night they resolved that issue. Also on the first 4 nights we had a flat screen TV from the movie "Poltergeist" which glowed like a runaway nuclear reactor lighting the entire room depriving us of sleep every night. Complaints to Guest Services personal were handled by cold and indifferent attitudes for 4 days and nights. On the fourth night I phoned the Miami Office and complained and they sent a message to the ship telling them to rectify the problem. We were moved by a begrudging staff member to another room, probably because we went over their heads when they would not address or resolve the issues. Both rooms also creaked and cracked all night long waking us up at all hours of the night. On top of that at 3:30 in the morning they were moving laundry carts around on the deck below us also creating noises to wake the dead. These problems were not isolated to us, but our neighboring staterooms also had the same problems. The outside balconies were already ridden with a lot of rust. On a positive note, our stateroom attendants were wonderful and very attentive!!!! Problems with Dining: While the different restaurant themes were a change, the main menu items were similar at almost every restaurant. After a few days the selections became dull and mundane at the least. After 8 days of the 12 day cruise some of the restaurants were running out of food listed on the menu. Even the Windjammer Cafe had a smaller variety of foods with most of the same items day after day. The dining rooms were under staffed which resulted in slow service. Waits of up to 20 minutes to have your water glass refilled. Many times the wrong entrees were placed in front of us and were quickly resolved because they actually belonged to someone else at our table. I prefer assigned seating and an assigned staff to the table, this has always provided stellar service because the waiter know he/she will get bonus money for providing great service. With the new "Dynamic Dining" they realize they will only see us one night and the drive to excel has been taken out of their sails because they know there will not be any extra tipping. After day four the Seattle Hot Dog stand was out of Coney Island Dogs and regular American Hot Dogs. Room Service no longer includes eggs, bacon, sausage, hamburgers, or the entree for the day. All of there are now Ala-carte items at additional charges and fees. We abandoned using room service because the service was always running about 20 - 30 minutes late and the coffee was horrible. The Promenade Cafe is no longer open all night, it closes near midnight and re-opens at 6:00 AM Problems with Entertainment: The entertainment venues were only one per night (not two shows like other ships) and the seating of the theater is probably only a third of the total population on the ship. Even though reservations were made months in advance for the shows, arriving 15 to 20 minutes before the show found the theater completely full with over-crowded standing room. It wasn't until the last 2 nights that they actually scanned your card to make sure you had reservations before letting you in. Problems with Equipment: As previously indicated, air conditioning and televisions were failing, sliding doors would jamb and stick when opening or closing. Elevators would constantly freeze up and then reset themselves. If you were going up, the elevators would freeze briefly and then reset and you soon found yourself going down instead of up. Bionic Bar Robots would spill drinks resulting in charges for a drink never received. To add insult to injury, for the same $8.00 drink at a bar, the robot bartender charged you $12.00 plus a heavy gratuity resulting in a final price of around $14.00 for that $8.00 drink. My question is what is the robot going to do with it's gratuity earnings? . Problems with Staff: Guest services were cold and indifferent to complaint about failures and problems, I had to call the Miami office in order to rectify problems with our room that they chose to ignore. Dining staff were understaffed and spread too thinly resulting in very slow and poor service, not necessarily a fault of their own. In the Windjammer dishes would be piled on empty tables for up to 15 minutes before the staff decide to remove them and clean the table so another group could be seated. Our talks with the dining wait staff found that they were unhappy with the new "Dynamic Dining" because they knew it would result in a severe drop in there income from lost tips. But to be totally fair there were a few shining stars who worked hard to provide outstanding service even for one night. We did tip them for their excellence in service provided. Other: The Promenade Cafe was severely shrunk in size with less selections of food that were present the past cruises. The coffee at the Promenade was terrible tasting!!! When creamer was added the coffee was actually gray in color (like dish water) and was totally unappetizing. Maybe the bad coffee is actually a way to cut coffee expenses on-board the ship. Because the Promenade was so small there were no parades or events there, because they have installed plenty of high end stores with over priced items. The ship has no access to the bow area for the opportunity of photography. You can no longer go forward on the 15th floor and get a forward vantage point for photography. The 5th floor walkways are between the staterooms and the lifeboats which makes it impossible to photograph directly into the water to capture images of flying fish or other wildlife. Even from your balconies you are unable to look directly into the water because you are 20 feet from the edge of the ship with your view blocked by the lifeboats. The outside walkways are completely exposed to the elements so in inclement weather you are directly exposed to the bad weather. The walkways are not sheltered like on the other classes of ships. We arrived in the port of Bridgetown Barbados on Sunday when all the stores were closed and almost nothing to do and no place to go except the terminal port itself. A little forethought would have possibly switched the Port of Bridgetown with Martinique so we could have been able to shop at both ports on the respective days. Even to the point of disembarkation, there were failure. We were delayed by almost 2 hours after our appointed time before we were allowed to exit the ship, making us late for our scheduled pick-up. My only advice is to run in the other direction with any discussion about the Quantum of the Seas. The Anthem of the Seas is the sister ship of the Quantum, so I would expect epic failures there as well. If you have reservations consider switching them to another class of ship like the Oasis or the Liberty. While there were many new things like the bumper cars, the larger solarium with more pools/hot tubs, the Flowrider, the I-fly, and the Northstar, but these also commanded long waiting lists and although the experience enjoyable, it was far from being worth the wait and inconveniences. If this is the future of Royal Caribbean, I will be seeking other options for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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